Public Eye: ordinary Hongkongers are hurting, yet the government lavishes billions more on bureaucrats
China’s economy is tanking. America’s is slowing. Hong Kong is caught in the cross hairs.
Bank of East Asia just sacked 180 people. Other businesses are freezing or slashing salaries. Our own government warns ominously of a rocky road ahead.
So why is it giving bureaucrats a hefty pay rise of up to 4.68 per cent, far more than even its own advisers suggested? Has it gone off its rocker? People are hurting yet it lavishes billions on those who are supposed to serve the people, throwing money even at bureaucrats earning over HK$130,000 a month.
Our bureaucrats are already the world’s second-highest-paid after Singapore yet they need to be bribed every year, rain or shine, to muster up their morale?
No wonder they live in la la land. Their iron rice bowls have made them clueless about how ordinary Hongkongers live. The government’s reasons for splashing taxpayers’ money on civil servants are morale, living costs, and, well, it can afford to. Afford to? Then why can’t it afford to help families cramped into prison-sized subdivided homes, elderly people scavenging rubbish bins to survive, and to finance a universal pension plan?
Every ordinary Hongkonger is being stung by high living costs, worsened by greedy landlords, profiteering supermarket chains, and a fare-mad MTR which puts profits before people. But our political leaders, who earn far more than the US president, use taxpayers’ money to pamper bureaucrats.
Morale? Our bureaucrats are already the world’s second-highest-paid after Singapore yet they need to be bribed every year, rain or shine, to muster up their morale? What about the morale of the people? Survey results released last week by think tank Civic Exchange unsurprisingly showed Hongkongers are miles unhappier than Singaporeans and Shanghai residents. A prime reason for this misery is the quality of government.
Disregard the bull bureaucrats themselves feed us that they slave to serve the people. Just look at the declared assets of our senior bureaucrats. Most own multiple properties bought with their over-generous pay. Education perks allow their children to study in overseas schools. They have a fast lane at our overcrowded public hospitals.
At least Singaporeans get value for money even though they pay their bureaucrats big bucks. Their super-efficient government has given them clean air, good housing, great heritage protection and enviable education. Our fiscal reserves top US$350 billion. Even former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa said on Monday the government should spend some of it on the people. Our bureaucrats spend it on themselves but scrimp when it comes to the people.